Exercise 3.2: Traces

31st March 2021

Then, using slow shutter speeds, the multiple exposure function, or another technique inspired by the examples above, try to record the trace of movement within the frame. You can be as experimental as you like.

OCA EYV (2014)

Introduction

I had decided to take a creative look at movement and look at ways to gain images that would be far more unique than the standard shots and layered movement images that I usually produce. For this exercise we were introduced to a new artist, Maarten Vanvolsem and I decided to research camera apps that produce strip-scan images.

During my research I was intrigued to find out that many photographers convert different types of cameras into strip-scan cameras. Each one producing different outcomes visually due to the individual construction methods. This is an area that I have now marked for my spare time research as I am interested in building my own cameras which produce visually creative images. At present I am researching how to turn dslr cameras into pin hole cameras, which is another technique that I am looking forwards to researching in depth and working with.

Slit-scan technology

I have researched the slit-scan technique and photographers that work within this area and the research can be found on my blog post, ‘Slit-scan Photography and Practicing Photographers’. I have also purchased some camera apps that can be used on my iPhone and iPad. This exercise looks at one of those apps.

SUI*2: Slit-scan Camera App

Developed by Hayato Kuno, Sui*2 also known as SUISUI is a camera application that uses slit scanning technology.

Opposite is a screenshot taken on my iPad of the open app. Here we can see the view through the camera app before it is moved to make the slit-scan image.

Below are a few chosen images from a variety of themed series of shots that I had taken using the Sui*2 slit-scan app.

To create the slit-scan photograph I firstly made sure the flash was turned off and secondly I chose the direction that I wanted the scan to run, a choice between vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Once these choices were made I experimented with each different themed image in the ways that I could move the camera to gain different effects. To gain an interesting composition, I took into consideration the objects position in the frame, its form and other details for example light and dark areas and once I had practiced with the movement I took the shots.

The outcome of the shots were a series of black and white, low-fi, grainy images which I am very pleased with. I decided to experiment and make a series called the Silent Scream’ which is a title that I work on quite a lot within my practice as an artist so I was keen to try the theme out with the SUISUI app.

The Fan

The fan was actually off at the time I took the photographs. I chose this as a subject because of the black background of my blackout blinds contrasting with the silver shine of the fan. I was also drawn to the fans form and bars and the text in the centre of the fan. I am very enthusiastic towards using text in my photography so I wanted to experiment with it within the slit-scan technique so that I could see how it would react when combined with movement.

The images that I obtained are very visually strong due to the contrast in materials and light and shadow and I find that the lines of the bars and the circle shape containing the text are extremely dynamic because of how they break up to form the movement line patterns. This has given me the idea that images with strong lines in them, for example, rows of buildings could produce powerful images.

Why?

The second set of images which I have titled ‘Why’ consists of a pile of torn up papers that I was discarding and one of my empty anxiety pill blister packets. I chose to set this still life up on one of my large cutting mats because of the squared lines and was specifically interested to see how the text from the papers would form in the image. I also added the anxiety pill reference so that the image with the title would look as though the torn up papers and the theme of the images were connected with the question ‘Why am I anxious?’. The question ‘Why?’ is also made important because the dominant text within the image on the right is the word ‘think’ which adds an interesting question, ‘ Why should we think?’ I also wanted the mixture of textures to see how they would combine in movement, the polyethylene plastic of the cutting board, the matt of the torn papers and the plastic and silver foil from the blister packet.

The combination of the materials and the lines and shapes of the objects in motion worked well together. I purposefully chose the horizontal setting on the app so that it followed the lines and edges of the objects, but specifically it followed the direction that we read text naturally so I gained a smoother and more natural feeling of movement within the composition.

Posters

Due to my interest in how the text becomes intriguing within the images due to it blurring and becoming distorted I decided to photograph a couple of my posters with text on them. I was very surprised at the end results where the text seems to dance around the page and the posters integrate with each other. The David Bowie poster is intriguing in it’s own way because of how his hand moves down and to the right of the picture plane and looks as though it has come out of the two-dimensional poster. Both of these images are strong and inspiring and I will look for other designs in the outside environment such as street signs, adverts and graffiti to use with this technique.

With the three examples above which are just a chosen few from each set, I was looking to gain different outcomes and to be honest, the outcomes exceeded my expectations.

I had already thought about the possibilities in experimenting with this app in my side project connected with mental health, domestic violence and self-portraits. I decided to create a few more scream photographs which emphasise how much of the time with mental health illnesses and as a victim of domestic violence behind a closed door your screams and shouts are not heard.

I decided to shoot some self-portraits of myself screaming on the app but along with just images taken with the camera moving to create the ripples I tried to also move my head on a couple, the outcome was interesting. To emphasise the feelings of isolation I erased some of the image in the SketchBook app to give the feeling of detachment from ones surroundings and from being contained within the structure of four sides of a photograph. The series I titled, ‘Hear my silent scream, my God, my Lord, my King’ because I always feel that no one even when I am desperately explaining what went on or how I feel really listen. I feel as though they cannot hear me, I also wonder if my screams to God must be silent ones as well or they fell on deaf ears because he has never helped me during the battles I had to endure as a victim of mental illness or abuse.

I find the images very satisfying in that they show the movement of my mouth which emphasises the scream multiple times over, they can be viewed below. Another visually interesting aspect of these images relates to how they have developed into looking like charcoal drawings, this was emphasised further because I erased some of the details from the right of the image which also continued the theme of dissolving into a nothingness in the series ‘Jail House Punk’ that I had created for Assignment 2 of this course, the work can be found on the blog post Exercise 3.2: Traces.

Self-portraits

‘Hear my silent scream, my God, my Lord, my King’

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